Mini pineapple upside down cakes in ramekins! This recipe makes two mini pineapple cakes with cherries or pecan halves in the center. It’s entirely made from scratch, and it’s the best individual cake to serve, in my very cake-loving opinion. Instead of almond extract, you can use rum for an adult twist, and you can also double this recipe for more servings.

Two mini pineapple upside down cakes on plates.

If we’re being completely honest here (which I hope we always are), I don’t love a big towering chocolate cake for my birthday. I like a simple mini pineapple upside down cake with a bright red cherry in the middle. It just has to be the caramel sauce in the bottom of the ramekin that makes me love this dessert so much. It starts in the bottom, but when you invert the cake onto a plate before serving, it becomes the top. Who doesn’t love a cake dripping with caramel upon serving. 

I love having my own personal cake made in a ramekin. It’s such a fun way to serve cake to everyone–no slicing and serving, just dump out the ramekins before serving! If you must have chocolate cake and need a small version, my mini chocolate cake is always a hit.

These are the 10-ounce ramekins I use so that we get two decent sized mini cakes. If you buy them online, it’s hard to buy them in anything less than a six pack. It’s okay, because I use these mini bowls for prepping when I’m cooking or for holding sprinkles during  and such when I’m decorating cookies for my annual cookie decorating party. If you have a small kitchen shop near you, you can probably just buy the two ramekins you need without getting stuck with extra ramekins.

Other things to make with ramekins:

Pineapple cake on plate with red cherries.

How to Make Mini Pineapple Upside Down Cakes:

The first step to make pineapple upside down cake is making the caramel and pineapple topping. The cake actually bakes with the pineapple on the bottom of the pan. Then, it’s inverted before serving to be on the top.

The caramel mixture is just brown sugar and butter, and is made in a small saucepan or skillet on the stove. After being poured into the ramekins, the pineapple and cherry goes on top.

There are times when I replace the cherry with some chopped pecans. Pecans do amazing things in the oven when cooked in a sugary, buttery caramel sauce. I think that’s just my Texas showing, my love of pecans in desserts is so deep. Have you seen my pecan sticky buns or my ultimate big and chewy pecan chocolate chunk cookies? I always have a bag of pecans in my pantry.

If you’re searching for cherries for these mini pineapple upside down cakes, you’re looking for the bright red maraschino cherries in the canned fruit aisle. However, if you have fancy amarena cherries that you use for garnishing cocktails, then please use those! They don’t have the bright red characteristic flavor, but they are delicious!

Finally, the cake batter is made and poured over the pineapple slices. After baking and a quick 10-15 minute cooling session, they’re inverted and served. Should we serve with boozy pineapple milkshakes?

The Ingredients

  • Butter. Unsalted butter is best, and we’re using it for the caramel sauce and the cake. For the cake batter, the butter needs to be softened at room temperature for at least an hour.
  • Granulated Sugar. We need two teaspoons of granulated white sugar for the coating the ramekins to make them non-stick. Then, we need another 6 teaspoons of sugar for the cake batter.
  • Brown Sugar. We’re making the caramel sauce with brown sugar only. I use light brown sugar so the tops don’t appear too dark.
  • Canned Pineapple Slices. You can find small cans of sliced pineapple rings that are only 8-ounces. Use the leftovers in this mango pineapple smoothie. If you want to use fresh pineapple slices, I recommend sautéing them in the caramel sauce in the pan before placing them in the ramekin. This way, they’ll be soft for the cake.
  • Cherries. Classically, bright red Maraschino cherries are used for pineapple upside down cake. You can use darker Amarena cherries or even pecan halves in their place, if you prefer.
  • Vanilla Extract.
  • Almond Extract. This brings a subtle wedding-cake flavor to this cake, and I absolutely love it. You can use one teaspoon of rum instead for a twist.
  • Egg. One large, whole egg.
  • All-Purpose Flour.
  • Baking Powder.
  • Buttermilk. You really need to use real 1% cultured buttermilk for this recipe. The acidity in buttermilk reacts with the baking powder to raise the cake. Do not substitute plain milk or anything dairy-free. 

The Directions

  1. Gather all ingredients, and have two ramekins, and a small baking sheet ready. Preheat the oven to 350-degrees F.
    Ingredients for mini pineapple upside down cakes on white table.
  2. First, use two teaspoons of the butter to coat the insides of each ramekin very well. Sprinkle one teaspoon of granulated sugar into each ramekin. Yes, we’re using two teaspoons of the granulated sugar to coat the ramekins, and the remaining 6 teaspoons of the sugar for the cake. Tilt the ramekins all around so that they have a nice coating of butter and sugar on all surfaces and edges. This will prevent the cakes from sticking when we’re un-molding before serving.
  3. Now it’s time to make the caramel and pineapple topping of the cakes that will go in the bottom of the ramekins. n a small skillet over medium-low heat, melt the brown sugar and the 2 tablespoons butter. When it’s evenly combined and fully melted, remove it from the heat.
    Butter and brown sugar in a sauce pan with spatula.
  4. Divide the mixture between the ramekins, and top with a pineapple slice and half a cherry each. Use an extra pineapple slice to cut and fit around the edges of the ramekin. See photo below. The entire surface should be covered with pineapple.
    Pineapple slices in ramekins.
  5. Next, make the cake batter. In a medium bowl, beat together the softened butter and sugar using an electric mixer. Add the vanilla and almond extracts, followed by the egg, mixing everything together very well. Then, add the flour, pinch of salt, and baking powder. Beat well. Finally, add the buttermilk. Once combined, divide the batter evenly between the ramekins.
  6. Bake the cakes for 30 minutes on a small baking sheet. Use a toothpick inserted only half-way into the cake to ensure they’re done. Don’t stick the toothpick too far into the cake and get the caramel batter instead of the cake. Let the cakes cool for 10-15 minutes, and then invert on a serving plate.

Pineapple upside down cake with fork taking a bite.

These mini pineapple upside down cakes are best served immediately after inverting, while they’re still slightly warm. To make them even fancier, serve with a dollop of freshly whipped cream that has been spiked with a small amount of rum. Pineapple and rum go so well together!

Other mini cakes for two:

Yield: 2

Mini Pineapple Upside Down Cakes

Two mini pineapple upside down cakes on plates.

Mini pineapple upside down cakes made in ramekins, serves two.

Prep Time 25 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Total Time 55 minutes

Ingredients

For the pineapple topping:

  • 2 tablespoons butter, plus 2 teaspoons for greasing ramekins
  • 2 teaspoons granulated sugar for ramekins
  • 8 teaspoons brown sugar
  • 4 pineapple rings
  • 4 maraschino cherries

For the cakes:

  • 3 tablespoons butter, softened
  • 8 teaspoons granulated sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/4 teaspoon almond extract
  • 1 large egg
  • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
  • Pinch of salt
  • 3/4 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/3 cup low-fat buttermilk

Instructions

1. Preheat the oven to 350° F. Gather all ingredients. Use 2 teaspoons of the butter to coat every inch of two 8-ounce ramekins. Then, sprinkle one teaspoon of sugar into each ramekin, and tilt around to cover every surface. This butter and sugar crust will keep the cakes from sticking to the ramekin. Ingredients for mini pineapple upside down cakes on white table.

2. First make the pineapple topping: In a small skillet over medium-low heat, melt the brown sugar and the 2 tablespoons butter. When the sugar is melted, scrape the mixture into the two ramekins, trying to divide it as evenly as possible. Melted butter and brown sugar in a skillet with a spatula.

3. Then, place one pineapple ring in the center of each ramekin. Slice up the remaining rings and arrange around the whole ring in order to cover the entire bottom of the ramekin. In the middle ring, Place one cherry half with the curved side up. Set aside while making the cake batter. Pineapple slices and cherries in two ramekins.

4. Now, make the cakes: In a medium bowl, beat together the softened butter and sugar using an electric mixer on medium. Beat for 1 minute, until fluffy and homogenous. Then, add the vanilla and almond extracts, followed by the the egg, mixing well. Add the flour, pinch of salt, and baking powder. Beat well. Finally, add the buttermilk. Once combined, divide the batter evenly between the ramekins and bake for 30 minutes. Use a toothpick to test the center of the cake to ensure it's done. Be careful not to poke all the way down to the caramel, because then the toothpick will come back wet.

8. Let cool 10-15 minutes before inverting onto plates and serving.

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Nutrition Information:

Yield:

2

Serving Size:

1

Amount Per Serving: Calories: 748Total Fat: 34gSaturated Fat: 19gTrans Fat: 1gUnsaturated Fat: 12gCholesterol: 171mgSodium: 598mgCarbohydrates: 106gFiber: 6gSugar: 70gProtein: 10g

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